Rare Belgian beer selling out at Ontario liquor stores in minutes

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz

Canadians love their beer, goes the stereotype. Well, hundreds of them were scrambling to prove it this week.

Customers lined up outside an Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store as early as 7 a.m. in the Greater Toronto Area to get their hands on a rare Belgian brew that's available for the first time internationally, according to the Toronto Star. The store manager told the newspaper they were sold out within four minutes.

Hundreds of beer lovers also lined up for a case in Ottawa on Thursday, according to the CBC.

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Brewed at the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus, the beer is called Westvleteren 12 and it's so rare, a gift pack with six bottles and two souvenir glasses sells for $76.85. Connoisseurs consider it one of the best beers on Earth.

It's a dark brew with a 10 per cent alcohol content.

The enthusiasm is no doubt fueled by the beer's exclusivity. Until recently, Westvleteren 12 had one of the smallest production rates in the world. Getting a taste meant a visit to the abbey's front door in Belgium.

"The Westvleteren "Trappist" is sold exclusively at the abbey store, and only after having made a reservation by telephone," the website still reads.

But when the monks at Saint Sixtus found the walls of their abbey were crumbling with age, they developed a plan to repair the building using beer sales, according to the Star.

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Ontario's liquor store bought 1404 cases, according to the report, but judging from the overwhelming response, they could have sold much more. The monks must have had to hustle to meet its orders. According to the Star, it had only four monks in charge of brewing and 11 bottling.